September 23, 2014 |
JUST A FEW feet into his morning hike in Wissahickon Valley Park recently, Bradley Maule was greeted by a pile of dog crap. He promptly pulled out his iPhone and made a note of the mess. A few steps later, Maule spotted a 40-ounce Budweiser bottle and a Yuengling box. He snagged both items with a Grip-n-Grab trash grabber and put them into a plastic bag fetched from his backpack. Maule, 38, of Mount Airy, is almost 10 months into his yearlong project, "One Man's Trash. " He collects litter during weekly hikes in the park and also documents every pile of dog feces and unleashed dog he sees - Wissahickon Park requires that dogs be leashed.
September 2, 2014 |
Mamadou Sacko and Barry Williams spend their work days enveloped in a malodorous fog. If it is even mildly warm out, they are trailed by a light constellation of flies. During an eight-hour shift, they will pick up and dump 20 tons of refuse - from aging love seats to sacks of unrecognizable slop - the typical haul for a crew of Philadelphia sanitation workers, positions commonly known as trash collectors. "Best job I've ever had," both men will tell you. "I don't know, I just really enjoy it," said Sacko, 41, who prefers the work to the nine years he spent as an overnight manager of a gas station.
August 28, 2014 |
Diane Wilfert, 68, adores watching her grandchildren - just not on Sundays during football season. From the first snap to the final buzzer, the grandmother from Pilesgrove, N.J., can be found perched on the couch - fantasy football roster in hand - hoping her team, the Cat's Pajamas, has a winning day. Wilfert, now retired, loves fantasy football - where participants choose real players to create imaginary teams. Her $40-to-join league, comprising family and friends, includes a draft party, gives her something to talk about with her sons-in-law, "and it's been wonderful for my marriage," she said.
August 13, 2014 |
Along a riverfront that was once one of the nation's most important industrial centers, Chester has become an important center for something else - waste treatment plants. When an incinerator and other facilities swept into the city in the 1990s, they were controversial, setting off suits, protests, and debates over health concerns and "environmental justice" in a Delaware County city where about one-third of the residents live in poverty. While tensions have ebbed, a plan to build two new buildings at the incinerator complex and import trash from New York has stirred them anew.
July 26, 2014 |
For Justin Soulen, the worst part of a long weekend at the Shore with friends was the drive home. Not because of the return traffic or the ending of a vacation, but because of what was traveling home with him in the trunk - bags and bags of hot trash. "It was gross - all the stuff from BBQs, parties," Soulen said. "We just said to ourselves, 'This is ridiculous.' " Because Soulen, 25, and friends would leave Ventnor on a Sunday, and trash day was at midweek, their only choice was to bring the trash home or risk being fined for leaving cans on the street too early.
July 16, 2014 |
WITH ITS LONE graffitied, abandoned house, grassy vacant lots and sparse signs of life, the desolate stretch of 3rd Street just north of Susquehanna Avenue in North Philadelphia seems like the perfect place to dump a body. And that's exactly what someone did, police said yesterday. About 5:30 a.m., a man picking through trash on the block, which is flanked by several grassy lots and the back of a warehouse, spotted a duffel bag outside the three-story, tan-brick rowhouse with boarded-up windows and made the grisly discovery, said Lt. John Stanford, a police spokesman.
July 9, 2014
AFTER A LONG day at Geauga Lake (Aurora, Ohio), my cousins and I headed over to our neighbors' house. I was about 8, but they were teenagers and wanted to spend time with my better-than-average-looking neighbor. It was about 10 o'clock when we came home to my mom and grandmother freaking out, terrified that something had happened to us. We came inside and my mom told me a story I had never heard before - she told me about my Aunt Sandy, and how she had run away when she was young and we never found her. After that day, I recall talking about Sandy and the entire situation much more often.
July 8, 2014 |
THE RESIDENTS and neighbors of one Northern Liberties apartment complex have spent two years seeking refuge from refuse. They say the trash bins in the parking lot of Liberties Walk at Schmidt's - the little sister to the Piazza, on the opposite side of 2nd Street near George - are constantly overflowing with waste, including food scraps from the restaurants housed in the complex's first floor. The excess rubbish attracts rats, blows onto the street and into neighboring properties, and literally causes a stink, especially during the warmer months, according to Matt Ruben, president of the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association.
July 3, 2014 |
POLICE OFFICER Robert McKoy steered his unmarked patrol car down Clearfield Street near 20th in North Philadelphia and spotted the guy he'd arrested recently for illegally dumping hundreds of tires and tons of broken concrete on the block. The guy, who is awaiting his court date, was sitting in a blue pickup truck at the scene of the crime, staring out the windshield at his former dumping ground. "A big, red truck was his workhorse," McKoy said. "We took his work horse and his front-end loader, too. We put this guy out of business.
May 15, 2014 |
Every now and then a story comes along that trashes conventional wisdom. Celia Pretter organized a cleanup of her Mount Airy block, rented a U-Haul truck to haul the debris, and drove it last week to the city's Northwest Sanitation Convenience Center. She was turned away for using a commercial vehicle, which she had rented solely for that purpose. Irate, Pretter watched multiple pickup trucks unload what appeared to be commercial debris. Last week, I wrote a column lamenting the situation.